The Novi Board of Education decided to wait until the district can develop more guidelines before adopting the that are mandated by the state.
The board needs to adopt a revised anti-bullying policy by June 6, but Superintendent Dr. Steve Matthews said he is also working on updating the district's anti-bullying guidelines, which give administrators procedures on how to enforce and punish bullying incidents.
Several board members said at a Thursday meeting that they would rather wait to adopt the policy until they can work with administrators on the guidelines, which are expected to be drafted up by late March or early April.
Matthews had originally planned to have the board vote to adopt the policy at its next meeting on Feb. 23, but said he approves of the board's choice to wait because Novi already has an anti-bullying in place, unlike some other districts.
"I certainly do not want to send the message at all that this is not an extremely important issue for this board and this administration because it is, and I do not want anyone thinking because we're not going to vote on this until March that action is not going to be taken when there's bullying going on, but for the sake of having a good, complete conversation on the board policy, I'm OK with waiting," said Board President Bruce Bagdady.
Matthews said the process for developing guidelines will include more discussions with administrators, parents and students. The Board is also required to have a public hearing at a future meeting.
Matthews has already with parents and students during the past two weeks to discuss if bullying is a problem in Novi and what more needs to be done to address it.
"Quite honestly we are a very good district, and our students are very well behaved and respect one another, but bullying does occur in our district," Matthews said.
Matthews said that even though a policy and guidelines are needed, all members of the district must also work to create a culture where bullying is not tolerated.
School video surveillance to be expanded
The board is expected to approve the expansion of video surveillance system in the district at its Feb. 23 meeting.
Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Steve Barr said the district's technology consultants from Plante & Moran walked around all the buildings in the district and decided that 85 more cameras were needed, including the following:
- 27 to the inside of
- 20 to the inside of
- 15 to the outside of
- 11 to the inside and outside of and
The board is expected to accept the lowest bid for the project from Netech for $215,727.59. The project will be funded by the 2007 Bond Project budget.